Gehrman celebrates birthday by helping lead Play It Again Sports to city softball championship

·2 min read

APPLETON – It’s not often you get a chance to play for a championship on your birthday but for Brianna Gehrman, she did just that Thursday night at Scheels USA Youth Sports Complex.

Gehrman was 3-for-3 with two runs scored and two RBIs to help lead Play It Again Sports to a 12-3 win over VFW Auxiliary in the 2022 Appleton Little League softball city championship.

“I’m very happy about it,” Gehrman said. “Amazing. Our team is the best.”

Manager Jerry Sparkman said it was all about the players.

“What a special day,” he said. “What more can you ask for on your birthday?

“It’s special for me, but for the players it’s most of all for them. It was the players, the motivation, the energy they had. And just coming out here and having fun. Just having a blast playing ball.”

After falling behind briefly 1-0 in the first inning, Play It Again Sports answered with three runs in the bottom of the frame. After VFW tied it at 3-3 in the third, Play It Again Sports never looked back, scoring three times in the bottom of the third, the fourth and the fifth to seal the title.

“It feels really, really good,” Cleo Sparkman said. “It’s really exciting. It helps for us to be really hype on the fence and all of us cheering together.

Play It Again Sports’ Brianna Gehrman bats against VFW Auxiliary during the Appleton Little League city championship softball game Thursday at Scheels USA Youth Sports Complex in Appleton. Play It Again Sports defeated VFW Auxiliary 12-3.
Play It Again Sports’ Brianna Gehrman bats against VFW Auxiliary during the Appleton Little League city championship softball game Thursday at Scheels USA Youth Sports Complex in Appleton. Play It Again Sports defeated VFW Auxiliary 12-3.

“It feels like a big accomplishment getting this far. All the time spent in practices, games and games getting canceled, we’ve had a running event and we’ve lost to them multiple times, too, so it’s not like we knew we were coming here knowing we’d win.”

Alice Hendrick agreed with her teammate.

“It’s surprising,” Hendrick said. “Honestly, I was a bit worried when we saw the teams. Apparently we did pretty well.”

Hattie Moscinski said the team grew together as the season progressed.

Play It Again Sports’ Cleo Sparkman, left, and Alice Hendrick celebrate their team’s victory over VFW Auxiliary during the Appleton Little League city championship softball game Thursday at Scheels USA Youth Sports Complex in Appleton.
Play It Again Sports’ Cleo Sparkman, left, and Alice Hendrick celebrate their team’s victory over VFW Auxiliary during the Appleton Little League city championship softball game Thursday at Scheels USA Youth Sports Complex in Appleton.

“It feels good because at the beginning of the season we didn’t all know each other but then we pulled it together and worked as a team. Yeah, it’s extra special being Brianna’s birthday.”

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Izzy Verhagen said her teammates picked each other up throughout the game and it was a big reason for their success.

“Amazing,” she said. “With all the hype on the fence, that really helped with the hitting.”

Valerie Baranczyk added two hits for Play It Again Sports. Hendrick, Ruby Guay and Natalie Salm also scored two runs, while Lillian Hanke, Cleo Sparkman, Baranczyk and Moscinski all scored once.

VFW was led by Samia Guerrero, Laynie Bauer, Hayden Burton and Addison Werfal, all with hits.

This was the first year the girls received a traveling trophy after winning the championship. Each of the girls' names will be added to it, just as Little League does in baseball.

This article originally appeared on Appleton Post-Crescent: Gehrman celebrates birthday by helping lead Play It Again to title